New Heights, Tahiti

Watching too much bodyboarding footage lately but I’m just blown away by how far (and high!) this piece of foam has been taken, at once just a toy for any beachgoing tourist, young and old to frolick in the shorebreak…to the deepest depths, and as if to thumb their noses at the ocean’s awesome power, soaring high above the heaviest waves in the world…

http://vimeo.com/m/27373111

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New Heights, El Fronton

Watching too much bodyboarding footage lately but I’m just blown away by how far (and high!) this piece of foam has been taken, at once just a toy for any beachgoing tourist, young and old to frolick in the shorebreak…to the deepest depths, and as if to thumb their noses at the ocean’s awesome power, soaring high above the heaviest waves in the world…

http://t.co/QIzUwU7a

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I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

Seattle’s first snow and temps in the 20s tonight made the hilly city’s streets treacherous. Laura ventured out to pick me up downtown after the rush tonight and we witnessed the mayhem up close.

I-5 was a parking lot both ways. Jack-knifed accordion buses blocked Downtown streets. Gangs of good samaritans were out just for fun in the U District to push cars up the hills and on their way/or out of the way.

Almost an hour, crunching along, almost home, this car spins out right in front of us, maybe over-reacting to and over-steering in the process, to avoid the guy on foot. He’s running toward us to wave us off to avoid the cars ahead all piled up into the curve at the bottom of this one street.

In two seconds, we’re hopped up over the median and between the trees and heading down the uphill side of the road! “What the..look at that soccer mom in the minivan go!”

Laura was right that the undriven-on snow would be a better bet than that packed-down ice on the arterials, but that is how we ended up on this more picturesque albeit steeper and winding and narrower street.

Surely Olmsted thought through all these scenarios when he designed this beautiful street? And we bought this AWD minivan for the one day in 6 years that Papa needs a ride home from work in inclement weather?

But when my father-in-law toasted us in 1998 as the couple to take the road less traveled, was this what he meant?

“…I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
– Frost

And we live to blog about it.

Expecting to stay below freezing all day tomorrow. Something about the first snow and the chatter of anti-lock brakes that gets you all in that holiday spirit.

Baby it’s cold outside. Stay home and snuggle.

Postcards from Boston: Ironworkers spray paint names of young cancer patients onto the beams of the Yawkey Center

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Video from the Boston Globe article Steeling their courage, earlier this year: Ironworkers spray paint names of young cancer patients onto the beams of the Yawkey Center going up at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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See also DFCI’s story: What’s in a name? For patients, a piece of history

 

 

 

Thoughts About Scale & World View/Natural Wonders & Human Endeavor

From the earliest age, our world takes shape through ever-expanding spatial perception and experiences.

haroldI’m reminded of the perspectival phenomenon of babies reaching for the moon and a children’s favorite Harold and the Purple Crayon, Harold’s amazing capacity to expand his world with a little one-point perspective.

That world expands with every interaction of voice and touch and warmth, as the blur of a mother’s face takes shape. Or for our canine friends, Puppy Kindergarten, meeting 100 humans and creatures of their own species in the first 6 months of life came as a powerful testament to the importance of socialization, cooperation and coexistence.

We are about to embark on a family vacation, an odyssey really, to the other side of the planet. Not our true antipodes, but to the Big Island of Hawaii which may as well be, for our mostly suburban, apologetically comfortable brood. That is to say, there are no active volcanoes, tropical rainforests, large marine mammals, multi-tiered waterfalls, infinite horizons or vast expanses of water that I can discern from our front porch in Central North Carolina.

On Paradise, I imagine a place where nature reminds you of at least two things: our vulnerability in the scheme of things apoolside drinknd our indelible strain on nature’s resources.  I imagine too that some may find Paradise in a drink with an umbrella in it delivered poolside by beautiful people for beautiful people.

This in fact has been a common theme for me:  ‘to serve’, be subservient, or, ‘to be served’ without being servile or ignoble and to be the gracious benefactor without offense or condescension.

So to broaden our horizons, our world view, we expose ourselves and our children to all the wonders of our natural planet and human endeavor. In spite of the tourist/local dichotomy where the visitor comes and goes with an entirely different perspective than the inhabitant, it is always my hope that we will be warmly received and able to reciprocate all the while taking in the change in scenery with the UNESCO World Heritage List as our roadmap.

When in Siler City, NC, you have to eat at Pollo Libre!

On our stretch of Hwy 64 between Pittsboro and Asheboro, en route to grandma & gramdpa’s over the years and recently, I am struck and disturbed by the same roadside distractions: Lorax-fabled land-use practices, the thriving MHP businesses and vacant strip malls with shiny new combo fastfood-and-gas stations out in front.

But of the roadside a-ttractions,we pass a wonderful pair of stacked stone pillars in front of a distinguished enough Carolina I-house, one black, one white and of the same form and proportion, nicely spaced and slightly larger than the human scale, that Goldsworthy himself would be proud to call his own.

Early "Goldsworthy" (with mortar)
Early "Goldsworthy" (with mortar)

There’s the plain and simple “Hog Slat” brand logo on the supply co. building with all the cool galvanized stuff  that Chapel Hill architects covet and a logo that any hipster would pay to have on a t-shirt or distressed ball cap to wear at kickball practice.

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And there’s that old Exxon station in Siler City, $1.13/gal still up on the sign. It’s old but not way old, more 70s vintage. And small by today’s standards, one- sided and backed up against an industrial chicken processing plant, and pinched by the widening of 64 in the past 10 years or so.

Pollo Libre with Townsends, Inc. Processing looming over
Pollo Libre with Townsends, Inc. Processing looming over

Only the road-weary bothers to ponder the re-use of a brownfield site like this Exxon. I can see the Aardman-faced chicken leaping to freedom over the CMU-and-chainlink between the Exxon and the proceesing plant, seeking safe haven at…Pollo Libre!Siler City’s response to McChipotle but with the real soul of taquerias on wheels!

Pollo Libre: freedom from industrial poultry processing
Pollo Libre: freedom from industrial poultry processing

Aunt Bee may not have appreciated the humor or the 2000 census putting Central NC counties at the  top of the latino immigration populaiton explosion. But Pollo Libre! is almost already Siler City’s premiere third place for locals that I’d stopped in everytime on these roadtrips from Chapel Hill to garndma’s house in my mind. Imagine: Univision, the spanish-dubbed version of Chicken Run looping continuously and futbol matches on large flat screens with lines at walk-up windows for the only all-locally grown all-vegetarian, pupusa,  tamal & menudo experience for miles deep in the heart of the latino immigrant south! Beautiful lowriders, custom pick-ups (and liquor-sickles too) out front cranking next gen corridos about social justice and their rightful place in the American mainstream!

Frances Baviar: Siler City's own Aunt Bee
Frances Baviar: Siler City's own Aunt Bee

…and open ’til midnight. Salud!